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8th June 2016

With Ramadan having started on Monday, we take a look at how employers can support their employees throughout the month.

Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting. Most Muslims will avoid food and water between sunset and sundown meaning employees who are observing Ramadan are likely to have more energy earlier in the day. A fair and reasonable employer might consider offering flexible working as an option for the duration of Ramadan.

You could try to organise meetings and conference calls in the morning, when employees are likely to be at their most alert, or allow them to work part days in the office combined with remote working later in the day – allowing them to complete work from home after they have broken the fast.

Flexibility, understanding and consideration are the keys to enabling your employees to observe Ramadan whilst maintaining productivity.

Are my employees automatically entitled to time off over Ramadan if they request it?

There is no automatic entitlement for time off due to Ramadan. Your employees should submit their holiday requests in the normal way and you can authorise them according to your usual rules. It would be reasonable to consider giving an employee unpaid leave, if you can accommodate it operationally.

An employee has asked to work different shifts that normal during Ramadan – do I have to say yes?

You are not obliged to allow an employee to work different shifts but you should consider the request in a reasonable manner and accommodate it if you can. Ultimately if it’s not possible for them to change shifts for business reasons then you can say no.

If I say no to time off requests for Ramadan will I face a discrimination claim?

No – unless you have refused the request unreasonably i.e. you have no genuine reason for refusing the time off and/or have deviated from your usual annual leave rules. You have the right to refuse requests if you have clear business reasons for doing so.

Several of my employees are fasting for the whole month of Ramadan, what can I do to help them and ensure their productivity remains the same?

You should ensure that all your employees receive adequate rest breaks. Although there is technically no obligation, you could consider allowing increased breaks for the period of Ramadan.

I run a warehouse company and some of my employees are fasting. Do I need to do anything differently this month?

Speak to your employees to ensure they feel supported during Ramadan. You might want to consider doing a risk assessment if their work is manual as they may be feeling weaker due to their fast. Perhaps you could see if amended duties will be necessary and/or possible during this period.

For help and advice on how to support your employees during Ramadan, call ELAS Business Support today on 0161 785 2000


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